Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cheese and Onion Sandwich





I recently took a break from blogging and am back now. The family went on a few trips, made some memories and back to the glory land.

During our trip, we had some amazing sandwiches from Marks & Spencer's. My son's favorite was the cheese and onion sandwich and mine was the carrot and Wensleydale sandwich.

I wanted to recreate those sandwiches as I thought they would be perfect for school lunches. I made the cheese and onion one today and quickly took a picture of it on my i phone.

My teenage son liked it and will be in his packed lunch for sure. Pair it with a fruit, yogurt, chips and a drink, you have a pretty filling lunch for the kid.

Get Ready


  • Spring onion/ scallion 2, washed and very finely chopped both green and white part
  • 1-2 tbsp of Mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tbsp of grated sharp cheddar cheese | add more if you like it)
  • cracked black pepper
  • 2 Bread slices ( I used Nature's own honey wheat )
Go

  • In a bowl add the chopped spring onions, mayo, cheese, black pepper and mix until well combined.
  • Spread the mixture on the bread slice and and cover it with another bread slice.
  • Cut the sandwich diagonally and serve.
Enjoy the sandwich and remember to eat some mint after  :))



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Creamy Grilled Eggplant Dip




Recently I had a few friends over and made this grilled egg plant dip to serve with appetizers.
This is a make ahead dip and can be put together very easily.
Serve them with pita chips or any chips of your choice. Mine served a lot of people and you can reduce the quantity if you are making for a few people.


Get Ready: ( serves 20 plus people)


  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 small tub of sour cream
  • Lots of finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 Red chilli powder
  • 2-3 thai green chilli finely chopped ( optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


Go


  • Wash and dry the egg plant. Poke a couple of holes on them with a fork. 


  • Cover with foil and grill them on a medium gas flame turning them multiple times.



  •  Keep the grill closed. Cook them till the are soft. One can also roast them on open gas flame to get a nice smokey flavor. Let tit cool well, peel the skin off, it comes easily and take the flesh of the cooked eggplant.


  • Mash the cooked flesh with a fork into a nice pulp.


  • This can be made ahead and kept refrigerated.
  • Before serving, add the sour cream, desired salt, chopped cilantro and mix.
  • In a pan, add the oil, add the red chilli powder and cumin. once the cumin seeds sizzle, pour it over the dip.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Banana Bread ( Version 2)




Here is a very easy, no nonsense banana bread recipe to make. This is a second version and it was as good as my previous one.

Best Banana Bread


Kids are at home for the summer and they are always hungry. I am sure, you like me must be getting tired of providing healthy snacks for them when at home.

 Get your kids involved in baking this and they will love this. This can be made in no time.

Last Sunday, we decided to make this in the afternoon and my kids loved in cracking the eggs, mashing the banana saying" eew, eew", licking the batter and had so much fun. The recipe can be easily halved and that is what I did. So, it filled only half of the loaf pan and was ready in 40 mins of baking.


The final product tasted very good and was soft after 3 days too.



Get Ready


  • 1/2 cup butter at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 4 ripe bananas mashed 
  • 1 & 1/2 cup all purpose flour ( maida)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract ( i did not have this, but original recipe calls for it)
Go

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease your loaf pan with cooking spray
  • Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar. You can use a spatula or an electric mixer.
  • Add the eggs and beta well till frothy.
  • Add the mashed banana , vanilla extract and mix well
  • Add the sifted flour mixture and fold with a spatula. Do not beat this mix.
  • Pour into the greased loaf pan and bake for 50 mins - 1 hr or till an inserted tooth pick comes out clean.
Remove it out of the oven, let it cool well, slice and enjoy for breakfast or an evening snack with a cup of chai!

Sorry, could not do step by step pictures with little helpers in the kitchen!

Other options:

Adding chocolate chips, chopped walnuts would be tasty too.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Grilled Paneer & Vegetables



Tucson is very popular to enjoy year round sunshine. Every house has an outdoor grill and people have a lot of outdoor parties.
Come memorial day, there is a lot of outdoor grilling and barbecue here. I have been grilling corn, Trader Joe's masala veggie burgers 9 they are da bomb ), zucchini etc and enjoying them. I recently wanted to try grilling paneer and was pleased with the results. My teenager and DH loved it as well.

I made them a paneer and vegetable skewers. It is simple and just needs some prep work done.

I used store bought " Gopi" brand paneer, red bell peppers, red onions and zucchini. One can use mushrooms, tomatoes or even pineapple chunks to go in the skewers.

I used bamboo skewers and I recommend soaking them in water for 1 hr as it helps them from not burning while on the grill. I used them before without soaking and the whole skewer stick was charred. Other option is to use metal skewers.
You need good amount of cooking spray on the skewered paneer  and on the grill

Get Ready ( made about 6-8 skewers)


  • Paneer 1 big block as sold in Indian stores  ( used 3/4 of it) cut into medium sized rectangles
  • 1/2 red bell pepper cut into big chunks
  • 1/4 red onion cut into big chunks
  • 1 Zucchini sliced into 2 inch rounds
  • Non stick Cooking spray  ( your best friend for this)
  • Skewers soaked in water


For the Marinade


  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 small green chilli
  • 1 tbsp ginger chopped
  • 3 tbsp  plain Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp besan/ Kadalai mavu
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  •  1/2 tsp of  chaat masala
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Go

Put all the ingredients for marinade into a blender and make a  paste.





Cut the paneer chunks and soak them in the marinade for at least 8-10 hrs in the refrigerator. 


Marinate the veggies in the same marinade. You can do it together with the paneer in a zip lock back or separately as I did.


Soak your skewers in water for 1 hrs.





Before Grilling

  • Take the skewers and insert a veggie, onion, paneer or in any order you want. keep them aside

  • Set your grill on the medium setting till everything gets heated for few mins
  • Spray your grill grates and the skewers with cooking spray.
  • Place them on the grill, cover and cook for 5-7 mins, turning the skewers so all the paneer and veggies are cooked
  • Once you seethe paneer golden, with grill marks you are all set to enjoy them.
  • Serve them hot with mint/ cilantro chutney or ketchup.
Enjoy and happy grilling!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Tiramisu / Eggless Tiramisu




Tiramisu is very popular Italian dessert made with lady fingers dipped in coffee, marsala wine and layered with a mixture of mascaporne cheese, eggs,cream.
I made this recently for a get together and avoided the raw eggs and alcohol. It is very easy to put together and is crowd pleaser.

This can also be made ahead, say a day before and will taste good. I was rushed to get everything ready for the party and could not get very good pictures.
Don't get carried away by the not so great pictures, the final product tastes very very good!


Get Ready


  • 1 tub/ 8 oz Mascaporne cheese ( I used Trader joe's)
  • Lady finger cookies ( I used whole foods brand, 1.5 packets)
  • 1 small carton of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup Powdered sugar ( adjust sugar as per taste)
  • 1 & 1/2 cup warm Coffee/ Coffee decoction to soak the lady fingers ( used Kothas coffee)
  • Unsweetened Cocoa powder for dusting the top layer


Go


  • Keep the mascaporne cheese on the counter to get soft for about 15- 20 mins

  • Make your coffee and add about 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and mix
  • Beat the heavy whipping cream and remainder powdered sugar till soft peaks. Took about 10 -12 mins

  • Fold the mascaporne cheese into the beater whipped cream mixture.
  • Take the bowl/ casserole in which you are going to make the Tiramisu.
  • Gently dunk the lady fingers one by one in the slightly warm coffee and arrange on the bottom of the dish. Don't over soak the lady finger s in coffee as they get way too soggy.



  • Spread a layer of the cheese and cream mixture over them

  • Repeat the lady finger cookies and cheese till the top


  • Cover with saran wrap and refridgerate for 6- 8 hrs



  • Before serving or 1-2 hrs before serving,dust cocoa powder with a sieve on the top.


Make slices and serve!

How easy is that to make, and trust me it is very easy to eat a lot!




Thursday, May 14, 2015

Kalyana Rasam



Kalyana Rasam is very popular in Tamil Nadu, served for wedding feasts. It is much thinner than the paruppu / Dal rasam made every day in households. It is very aromatic, spicy and tangy.This rasam is served in a separate cup and will be very yummy to just drink it as well.

My mother makes this same rasam without any dal/ paruppu. I have used some dal in this one.

Get Ready


  • 1 tomato cut into big pieces
  • 1/2 tomato finely chopped in small pieces
  • 1 tbsp cooked toor dal, mashed and diluted with water
  • water as needed to dilute the rasam
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • Chopped Cilantro as much as you want
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds


To Roast and Grind


  • 1 tsp toor dal
  • 1tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper corn ( use more of needed)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
Go

In a pan, add a drop of ghee and roast all the ingredients under roast, except cumin seeds. Roast them on medium flame till they are aromatic. Add the cumin seeds at the end, toss and turn the heat off. You want to add cumin at the end to avoid a burnt taste of cumin.


Once cooled, add the big piece of tomato to the roasted ingredients and grind them fine.


Transfer this ground paste into the pan you are going to make rasam.


Add the asafedita, salt to taste and let it boil for 10 -12 mins.
Add the diluted dal mixture, finely chopped tomatoes to the above cooked rasam.


Check salt to taste, add more water if your rasam is thicker.


Add chopped cilantro and let the rasam come to a frothy boil.
Take off from the heat.


In a pan,add the ghee and do the tempering/ tadka with mustard seeds and pour it on the rasam.

Enjoy with rice, ghee and any side dish.


You can check out my other Mysore, Gottu, Lemon rasam varieties on the link.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Broccoli Moong dal Stir fry



Broccoli is one vegetable which some may like it or hate it. I am not a big fan of raw broccoli, but if cooked i can eat it like nobody's business. I tried broccoli with moongdal during our recent potluck party made by a friend. She had used lots of garlic and cooked them slow in an electric skillet. Even the broccoli haters at the  party enjoyed it.

To me the garlic was very overpowering and I tried making my own just with onions and no garlic.
Of course, if you are die hard fan of garlic, go for it.

It tasted very good with rice, sambar, rasam or curd rice. My 6 year old couldn't wait to get her hands in it while I was taking pictures of it.

That, means a lot to me...!

Mild nuttiness and crunch of  moongdal and broccoli makes this a very flavorful side dish.

Get Ready:


  • 1 & 1/2 crowns of broccoli, washed and chopped into small florets with stem
  • 1/2 onion thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp of moongdal soaked in little water for 20 mins and drained ( this helps in faster cooking of dal)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp sambar powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • salt to taste


To temper/ Tadka/ Thalikka


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal
Go:


  • In a pan, add oil and do the temering with mustard seeds and urad dal. The seeds pop, and urad dal turns light brown.

  • Add the sliced onions and saute till soft  and translucent.

  • Add the chopped broccoli, moong dal, all spices and salt to taste.
  • Toss them all well, reduce flame to low, cover and cook till the broccoli florets are soft, but still has a mild crunch. if you like yours to be cooked softer, keep it till the right consistency. Yes, you can open the lid and toss them once in a while. We don't need to add any water for the broccoli to cook. Covering the pan will help them steam and cook faster. too much water can make it all a big mush.
  • Once the florets are cooked, adjust salt or other spices and cook of medium flame uncovered.
  • Saute till all the water is absorbed and the curry is dry.




Turn the heat off and enjoy with rice, chappathi or buttered toast.